Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It consists of more than seventeen thousand islands, including Sumatra, Java, Borneo (Kalimantan), Sulawesi, and New Guinea (Papua). Indonesia is the world’s largest island country and the 14th-largest country by land area, at 1,904,569 square kilometres (735,358 square miles). With over 267 million people, it is the world’s 4th-most-populous country as well as the most-populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world’s most-populous island, is home to more than half of the country’s population.
The sovereign state is a presidential, constitutional republic with an elected legislature. It has 34 provinces, of which five have special status. The country’s capital, Jakarta, is the second-most populous urban area in the world. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and the eastern part of Malaysia. Other neighbouring countries include Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and India‘s Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support one of the world’s highest levels of biodiversity.
Government expenditure on HEALTHCARE is about 3.3% of GDP in 2016. As part of an attempt to achieve universal health care, the government launched the National Health Insurance (Jaminan Kesehatan Nasional, JKN) in 2014 that provides healthcare to citizens. They include coverage for a range of services from the public and also private firms that have opted to join the scheme. In recent decades, there have been remarkable improvements such as rising life expectancy (from 62.3 years in 1990 to 71.7 years in 2019) and declining child mortality (from 84 deaths per 1,000 births in 1990 to 25.4 deaths in 2017). Nevertheless, Indonesia continues to face challenges that include maternal and child health, low air quality, malnutrition, high rate of smoking, and infectious diseases.
Warmer world linked to poor pregnancy results: Study
MARLOWE HOOD AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE Paris, France / Wed, November 4, 2020
Women exposed to high temperatures and heatwaves during pregnancy are more likely to have premature or stillborn babies, researchers said Wednesday.
Such outcomes — closely linked to poverty, especially in the tropics — will likely increase with global warming, especially during more frequent and intense heatwaves, they reported in BMJ, a medical journal.
Even small increases “could have a major impact on public health as exposure to high temperatures is common and escalating,” the study concluded.
Each year, 15 million babies are born premature, the leading cause of death among children under five, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
That mortality is concentrated in the developing world, especially Africa.
To quantify the impact of higher heat on pregnancy outcomes, an international team of researchers led by Matthew Chersich from Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute in Johannesburg looked at 70 peer-reviewed studies of 27 rich, poor and middle-income nations.
Of the 47 studies that concerned preterm births, 40 reported they were more common at higher temperatures.
The odds of a preterm birth rose, on average, by five percent per one degree Celsius (1C) increase, and by 16 percent during heatwave days, according to the new findings.
Global warming has seen Earth’s average temperature rise by 1C over the last century, with greater increases over large land masses.
The number of exceptionally hot days are expected to increase most in the tropics, according to the UN’s climate science advisory panel, the IPCC.
‘High risk’ for heat
Extreme heatwaves — made more dangerous by high humidity — are projected to emerge earliest in these regions as well.
Limiting global warming to 1.5C instead of 2C — goals consistent with the Paris Agreement — would mean around 420 million fewer people frequently exposed to extreme heatwaves, the IPCC said in a 2018 report.
The new study also found that stillbirths increased by five percent per 1C increase in temperature, with the link most pronounced in the last few weeks of pregnancy.
The impact of warmer days and heatwaves on low birth weight, which is associated with a host of health problems later in life, was smaller, but still significant, the researchers said.
As expected, adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with rising temperatures were strongest among poorer women.
Because other factors such as pollution might play a role in stillbirths and premature babies, the role of warmer temperatures is hard to pin down, the researchers acknowledged.
Nonetheless, the findings are strong enough to suggest that pregnant women “merit a place alongside the groups typically considered as at ‘high risk’ for heat-related conditions,” they concluded.
More research and targeted health policies should be a high priority, they added.
Kat and I study global health issues and developments on an ongoing basis. Based on the increasing and well documented climate change and global warming challenges that make national “borders” irrelevant in many ways, and challenge the global community, much like the pandemic, to create ways of collaborating for global and good and even survival, and considering the overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change and global warming pose a real and present danger, we call for global action and proactive changes. Our Neonatal Womb Warrior/Preterm Birth Community and our global community at large can and with increased necessity, must create progressive people/planet-oriented changes in order to provide a future for our children and our children’s children.
The technology is here. The people are ready. Scientists have spoken. Progressive businesses are stepping forward. Now we need governments to take climate action!” – WWF International
You must not gamble your children’s future on the flip of a coin. Instead, you mustunite behind the science. You must take action. You must do the impossible. Because giving up can never ever be an option- Greta Thunberg
Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear – Barack Obama
Check Out: https://climate.nasa.gov/
Maternal smoking and preterm birth: An unresolved health challenge
Sarah J. Stock , Linda Bauld – Published: September 14, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003386
Maternal exposure to tobacco smoke in pregnancy is a key modifiable risk factor for baby death and disability. Smoking is linked to preterm birth (birth before 37 weeks’ gestation), stillbirth, and neonatal mortality, as well as to miscarriage, fetal growth restriction, and infant morbidity . The worldwide prevalence of maternal smoking in pregnancy is 2%, with Europe having the highest prevalence at 8% . Although rates of maternal smoking in pregnancy are decreasing in many high-income countries , this decline is slower among women of lower socioeconomic status, contributing to health inequalities . In certain low- and middle-income countries, maternal smoking rates are static or rising .
In this issue of PLOS Medicine, two studies provide new insights into the implications of exposure to tobacco smoke in pregnancy for perinatal and childhood outcomes. Buyun Liu and colleagues studied preterm birth in relation to timing and intensity of maternal smoking in more than 25 million singleton mother–infant pairs using United States birth certificate data . The size of this “mega-cohort” allowed exploration of whether incremental increases of 1–2 cigarettes per day were associated with increases in preterm birth. Compared to nonsmokers, any maternal smoking during the three months prior to conception and continued into the first trimester of pregnancy was associated with increased preterm birth (odds ratio [OR] 1.17 [95% CI 1.16–1.19]). This risk increased if maternal smoking continued during the second trimester (OR 1.45 [1.45–1.46]). Women who quit smoking during pregnancy still had an increased risk of preterm birth, even if levels of smoking were low and they stopped early in pregnancy. For example, compared to nonsmokers, women who smoked 1–2 cigarettes a day and quit in the first trimester had an increased risk of preterm birth (OR 1.13 [1.10–1.16]). In contrast, if they quit smoking in the three months before pregnancy, even heavy smokers of 20 or more cigarettes per day had a similar risk of preterm birth to that of nonsmokers (OR 1.01 [0.99–1.03]). The authors conclude that there is no safe level for cigarette smoking in pregnancy.
Elise Philips and colleagues found a different pattern of smoking and preterm birth in an individual participant data meta-analysis of 220,000 births from 28 cohort studies, in which smoking status was determined from questionnaires . Compared to nonsmokers, mothers who smoked in the third trimester of pregnancy were at increased risk of preterm birth. However, the effect size was lower than in Liu’s study , with an OR of 1.08 (1.02–1.15). In contrast to Liu’s findings , smoking confined to the first trimester of pregnancy was not associated with preterm birth when compared to nonsmokers (OR 1.03 [0.85–1.25]). Furthermore, no dose response was seen with increasing or decreasing cigarette intake between first and third trimesters.
Philips and colleagues additionally explored the relationship between smoking and being small for gestational age (SGA) at birth and overweight in childhood . Whereas maternal first trimester smoking was associated with childhood overweight (OR 1.17 [1.02–1.35]) but not SGA (OR 0.99 [0.85–1.15]), smoking in later pregnancy was associated with both childhood overweight (OR 1.42 [1.35–1.48]) and SGA (OR 2.15 [2.07–2.23]). Reducing the number of cigarettes from first to third trimester lowered the risks of delivering SGA infants, but risks were still higher compared with nonsmoking mothers. Mothers who increased the number of cigarettes from first to third trimester had increased risk of an SGA infant compared with those who did not.
Several factors may explain the different patterns of association between smoking and preterm birth seen in the two studies. First, at 4.7%, the population risk of preterm birth in the Philips study, in which most of the cohorts were European , was less than half that of Liu’s US-based study (9.3%). Second, the sample size for analyses of cessation, increasing, or decreasing cigarettes smoked between first and third trimester was much smaller in Philips’ study and, at only 1% of the entire cohort (around 2,200 women with 120 preterm births), may not be representative at population level. The low numbers resulted from only around half of the included cohorts having data on both early and late pregnancy cigarette consumption. Third, in the Philips study, smokers who quit prepregnancy were included as nonsmokers, whereas in the Liu study, prepregnancy smokers were considered separately. Finally, cohorts in the Philips meta-analysis collected late pregnancy smoking data in the third trimester . This can be problematic, as most preterm births occur in the third trimester. Liu and colleagues restricted analysis to second-trimester smoking to avoid this.
Despite their differences, both studies add compelling evidence to the idea that there is a dose–response relationship between smoking in pregnancy and preterm birth. The more and the longer women smoke in pregnancy, the higher the associated morbidity. There will also be higher numbers of babies who die, as preterm birth is the major cause of neonatal mortality, and SGA is strongly associated with stillbirth. This message needs to be clearly conveyed to pregnant women and health professionals so that the relevance of surrogate health outcomes is not misinterpreted. Having a “small baby” may not be seen as a bad thing or even, erroneously, be considered advantageous for birth. Health messages should also be directed to wider audiences than just pregnant women and those that care for them. As beliefs about smoking are strongly influenced by family, friends, and peers, risk messages from social networks are frequently more effective than those delivered by health professionals .
Pregnancy is a time when interventions for smoking cessation might be most effective. It is purported that women are more likely to quit smoking in pregnancy than at any other period in their lives . There are certainly opportunities for improvement, with three-quarters of prepregnancy smokers continuing to smoke in early pregnancy and 85% of those that smoke in early pregnancy continuing into late pregnancy . Behavioral support for smoking cessation is recommended as part of antenatal care in many countries and endorsed by guidance from WHO. This should be delivered by staff who have received appropriate training but delivered in a flexible way, tailored to the needs of pregnant women. Some countries combine behavioral support with nicotine replacement therapy, which has been shown to be effective in the general adult population. However, single-product nicotine replacement therapy has not been shown to be effective during pregnancy , and research is now ongoing to explore this further .
Evidence from ongoing trials of promising adjuvant approaches, such as electronic cigarettes and financial incentives , may be key to improving quit rates but will require political will to implement if effective. There are, however, enormous potential benefits from reducing smoking in pregnancy, both in terms of women’s and children’s health and in savings to health services. In the United Kingdom alone, maternal and infant healthcare costs attributed to smoking are estimated at £20–£87.5 million per annum . A concerted effort across multiple sectors is required to prevent this harm and protect the health of future generations.
Citation: Stock SJ, Bauld L (2020) Maternal smoking and preterm birth: An unresolved health challenge. PLoS Med 17(9): e1003386. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003386
Global burden of preterm birth
Salimah R. Walani First published: 10 June 2020 https://doi.org/10.1002/ijgo.13195
Preterm birth is a live birth that occurs before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. Approximately 15 million babies are born preterm annually worldwide, indicating a global preterm birth rate of about 11%. With 1 million children dying due to preterm birth before the age of 5 years, preterm birth is the leading cause of death among children, accounting for 18% of all deaths among children aged under 5 years and as much as 35% of all deaths among newborns (aged <28 days). There are significant variations in preterm birth rates and mortality between countries and within countries. However, the burden of preterm birth is particularly high in low‐ and middle‐income countries, especially those in Southeast Asia and sub‐Saharan Africa. Preterm birth rates are rising in many countries. The issue of preterm birth is of paramount significance for achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 target #3.2, which aims to end all preventable deaths of newborns and children aged under 5 years by 2030.
According to WHO, preterm birth is a live birth that occurs before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. Preterm birth is further classified as extremely preterm (<28 weeks), very preterm (28 to <32 weeks), and moderate (32 to <34 weeks) to late preterm (34 to <37 weeks). Preterm birth may occur spontaneously or may be initiated by a provider through induction of labor or elective caesarean delivery which may or may not be medically indicated. A baby born after 37 weeks of pregnancy is not considered preterm; however, it is recommended that unless medically indicated a pregnancy should be allowed to continue until 39 completed weeks to ensure optimal health outcomes of the baby.
The true prevalence of preterm birth is not known due to lack of actual data in many countries, especially those in lower‐income categories. Estimates of preterm births for 184 countries using 2010 data showed that approximately 15 million babies are born preterm annually worldwide, indicating a global preterm birth rate of about 11%, ranging from 4% in Belarus to 18% in Malawi. Preterm birth rates are rising in most countries. A recent study examining the trends of preterm birth rates found that the global preterm birth rate rose from 9.8% in 2000 to 10.6% in 2014.
Preterm birth is the leading cause of childhood mortality. Approximately 1 million babies die every year due to complications of preterm birth. The issue of preterm birth is of paramount significance for achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 target #3.2, which aims to end all preventable deaths of newborns and children aged under 5 years by 2030. Understanding the global burden of preterm birth and disparities in prevalence and mortality of this condition is critical for advocacy and allocation of resources for surveillance, research, prevention, and care related to preterm birth.
Of the 15 million preterm births every year, over 84% occur at 32–36 weeks of gestation. Only about 5% fall into the extremely preterm (<28 weeks) category and the other 10% are born at 28–32 weeks of gestation. Six countries—India, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the United States—account for 50% (~7.4 million) of the total preterm births in the world.
There are major variations in preterm birth rates by geographic region and level of income of a country. When countries are grouped by their World Bank income categories, it is found that approximately 90% of all preterm births occur in low‐ and middle‐income countries. The average preterm birth rate for low‐income countries is close to 12%, compared to 9.4% and 9.3% for middle‐ and high‐income countries, respectively. However, there are outliers. For example, Ecuador, a middle‐income county, has a preterm birth rate of 5%, which is lower than in many high‐income countries such as Germany (9.2%), Canada (7.8%), and Israel (8%).
Disparities in preterm birth rates by geographic regions are also very stark. Systematic review and modelling analysis from 2014 data showed that 80% of preterm births occur in countries in sub‐Saharan Africa and South Asia.3 However, there are remarkable variations in the rates within each region. For example, according to one estimate in sub‐Saharan Africa, the preterm birth rate in Uganda of only 6.6% is lower than that of many high‐income countries, including the United States, while Uganda’s neighboring country Tanzania has an estimated preterm birth rate of 16.6%. Within‐region differences are also evident in Europe, where preterm births are in the range of 5%–10%, despite similar development and healthcare infrastructures.
Disparities in preterm birth rates based on maternal education, race, and ethnic origin are also evident in some countries and regions. In the United States, for example, in 2016 the preterm birth rate was 14% among African‐American women compared to 9% among white women. An analysis of preterm birth rates across 12 European countries showed that preterm birth rates were generally higher among women with lower levels of education. In six of the twelve countries, these variations were statistically significant. The differences in preterm birth rates by maternal education were most significant in the Netherlands (P=0.001) and Norway (P=0.009). In the Netherlands, the preterm birth rate among women with a low level of education was 7.0%, compared to 4.9% in those with a high level of education. In Norway, the rates were 9.7% in women with a low level of education and 5.9% in women with a high level of education.
The causes of variations in preterm birth rates among countries and in groups within a country or a region are mainly unknown; however, risk factors associated with preterm birth are discussed in a study by Cobo.
Of the 15 million babies born preterm every year worldwide, more than 1 million die before the age of 5 years due to preterm birth and its complications. There has been an overall decline in deaths in children aged under 5 years in the last two decades due to reductions in mortality related to infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, and measles. As a result, complications related to preterm births are now the leading cause of death among children, accounting for 18% of all deaths in children aged under 5 years. The burden of preterm birth is particularly profound during the first 28 days of life (neonatal period), accounting for 35% of all neonatal deaths globally. As with the prevalence of preterm birth, there are huge variations among countries and regions in preterm birth mortality rates and absolute number of deaths due to complications related to preterm births. For example, preterm birth mortality accounts for close to 28% of all deaths in children aged under 5 years in North America and in Western Europe compared to approximately 13% in sub‐Saharan Africa and 25.5% in South Asia. However, the majority of all deaths due to preterm birth occur in sub‐Saharan African and South Asia. India, a country in South Asia, alone accounts for 330 000 (~33%) of the total global deaths due to preterm births. The high absolute number of deaths related to preterm births in some regions is partly due to their high overall rates of child mortality. In 2016, sub‐Saharan Africa had an average under‐five mortality rate of 79 deaths per 1000 live births compared to only 6 per 1000 live births in North America and Europe. Variations in survival gap is another important issue to be considered in relation to preterm birth mortality. In high‐income countries, where almost all births are attended by skilled staff, 50% of the babies born as early as 24 weeks survive, whereas in a low‐income country, even a baby born at 32 weeks has only a 50% chance of survival due to lack of available resources and/or low quality of specialized care needed to improve the survival of a baby born too soon.
Preterm birth is a major healthcare problem affecting 15 million births every year. It is the leading cause of mortality among children aged under 5 years, with a majority of deaths due to preterm birth occurring in the neonatal period.
Much attention has been devoted to the prevention of preterm birth through research and advocacy by organizations such as March of Dimes. However, there is substantial evidence that preterm birth rates are rising globally and in most countries. An analysis of high‐quality data from 38 countries, comparisons between 2000 and 2014, showed that preterm birth rates increased in 26 countries. Although due to scarcity of good‐quality surveillance and registry‐based data, the published prevalence rates from Asian and African countries must be interpreted with caution, the reports of disparities in preterm birth rates and mortality among regions and countries consistently show that the majority of preterm births and related mortality occurs in low‐ and middle‐income countries and the burden is particularly high in South Asia and sub‐Saharan Africa.
HAND METAL PROJECT
The project was conceived by friends and artists Iris Eichenberg and Jimena Ríos. Its aim is straightforward: for artists, jewelers, students, and professionals to craft medals that will honor the service and sacrifice of health workers. Infused with the gratitude of the ex-voto and the tribute of a medal, these hands have been made and collected since April 2020.
The design is drawn from a historical argentinian ex-voto. Authorship is secondary the medals are not about the maker, but about the receiver. To underscore the unity of this collaborative effort, participants copy a template of the hand, meant to be simple enough for all skill levels, and easily replicated into whatever metal is available. This singular hand design creates a collective voice, reinforcing the shared gratitude that is the project’s mission.
Our current battle with coronavirus is fought with an enemy invisible to the naked eye, its specter made all the more ominous by its intangibility—a danger you cannot see. By contrast, metal, especially jewelry, is known by its weight and shape against the body. When formed into a medal, it provides a physical testimony for both the unseen virus and invisible bravery of those who have fought it. Hands themselves have been powerfully present in this battle. They are symbols not only of how our bodies have become weapons to be washed, sanitized, and gloved, but also of their innate power to heal and to connect. For around 3000 jewelers that join the project, of course, they are the language of skill and expression embodied.
Medical Legal Forum: Simplified, Real-time, Free access to the Complete Medical Record in the NICU is Coming with Implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act
Parents of NICU patients have had the right to review their child’s medical records for many years, but in the past such efforts required trips to the medical records department in the sub-basement, long delays, and the significant costs of copying the records. In recent years with the shift to electronic medical records and the development of patient portals, families have had an easier time accessing some, but not all, medical records. This is about to change with the implementation of a rule from the Federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT requiring health systems to provide greater access to patient health records.
The rule is part of the implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act passed by Congress in 2016. The “Cures Act” was originally designed to accelerate medical product development and to bring new innovations to patients who need these products faster. The program also allowed patients to access all the health information in their electronic medical records without charge by their healthcare provider. The original deadline for the rule, November 2, 2020, was moved to April 5, 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Patients will have access to the following types of clinical notes:
• Consultation notes • Discharge summary notes • History and physical • Imaging narratives •
Laboratory report narratives • Pathology report narratives • Procedure notes • Progress notes
There are limited exceptions. These include certain psychotherapy notes by mental health professionals as well as information gathered for use in civil or criminal proceedings. A note can also be protected if it places the patient in potential danger, such as a discussion about domestic violence when the abuser can access the information. Additionally, certain health information for adolescents may be protected from access by the parents. It will be important to work with hospital legal and compliance experts to determine the specific application of the rule at your institution.
An important second aspect of the rule is penalties for anti-competitive behavior and information blocking that impedes the exchange of medical information. For example, some health IT vendors had a “gag clause” prohibiting the sharing of screenshots. These non-disclosure clauses hinder efforts to improve safety and openly discuss safety concerns.
The destruction of ‘data silos’ and mandated interoperability is designed to improve care and decrease costs by allowing patients to control their electronic health information, download the information to their smartphones, and examine the data with the apps of their choice. For years there has been an issue of who ‘owns’ patient health data, and this question has clearly been answered in favor of patients.
What impact will free, easy access to the medical record have in the NICU? Certainly, some additional education may be necessary. For example, many laboratory ‘normal’ values reflect data for adults, not neonates. Additionally, very sensitive maternal information, such as herpes status and pregnancy history, is part of the neonatal medical record as well. Ultimately the change will likely be very positive, as with most improvements in transparency. Indeed, while a busy NICU team is caring for multiple patients, a family is focused on just one patient and may catch and prevent errors of omission. Let us not forget that in 2013, the NICU Parent Network created the “NICU Parent’s Bill of Rights.” These ten statements are listed from the perspective of the NICU baby. An example of one statement is, “my parents are my voice and my best advocates; therefore, hospital policies, including visiting hours and rounding, should be as inclusive as possible.
The Cures Act “Final Rule,” which was issued on October 29, 2020, provides our healthcare system additional flexibility and clarifies privacy protections. Healthcare workers face quite a challenge. They must try to take the safest possible care of patients while working in extraordinarily complex systems. The High-Reliability theory offers insight into this dilemma. Increasing reliability has the potential to not only improve outcomes but also to decrease a hospital’s liability.
Breastmilk Harbors Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2
An abundance of immunoglobulin antibodies, and a paucity of viral RNA, in breastmilk offer evidence that women can safely continue breastfeeding during the pandemic.
Milk from lactating moms may hold potent antibodies to counter SARS-CoV-2 infections, according to a new study of 15 women. All of the samples from women who had recovered from COVID-19 and who were breastfeeding babies at the time had antibodies reactive to the virus’s spike protein, researchers report in the November issue of iScience.
Detecting antibodies against the virus in breastmilk indicates that mothers could be passing viral immunity to their babies. Women can “feel pretty comfortable breastfeeding” during the pandemic, Christina Chambers, a perinatal epidemiologist at the University of California, San Diego, who not involved in the new study, tells The Scientist.
To date, there’s no evidence that a mother can transmit SARS-CoV-2 to her baby through breastmilk, Chambers says. She and others have tested breastmilk for SARS-CoV-2 RNA and found a few positive results, but no live virus. Her latest research also suggests that donor milk is safe for babies’ consumption, too, though she hasn’t assessed antibodies in donor milk banks she works with yet.
I think the potential is really great, if we get past this taboo that it’s breastmilk.
—Rebecca Powell, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Antibodies in breastmilk may be useful for more than protecting nursing infants from the virus. Antibodies extracted from milk—as opposed to the current practice of using convalescent serum—could also serve as a therapeutic for COVID-19. However, “people question that this is something that could really happen,” says study coauthor Rebecca Powell, an immunologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Because there isn’t a wider understanding of the immune benefits of breastmilk, she says, the concept has not caught on in antiviral drug development.
Detecting breastmilk antibodies
Powell has been investigating human milk immunology for the past four years and was analyzing how the seasonal flu vaccine prompted an immune response in breastmilk when the coronavirus pandemic spread to New York City earlier this year. Switching to study the SARS-CoV-2 immune response in breastmilk was “a no brainer,” she says. “There’s so many unanswered questions in general about milk immunology, but to be able to study it with a novel pathogen was really important.”
By early April, she and her colleagues had received approval to begin collecting milk samples from lactating mothers who had recovered from COVID-19. The researchers collected samples from eight women who had a SARS-CoV-2–positive PCR test and seven who had suspected cases of the disease but were not tested; all 15 were lactating at the time. The team then compared the samples to ones from different lactating mothers amassed before the pandemic began, first assessing them for the presence of immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and then checking the ability of any antibodies found to bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
All the of samples from the women who had recovered from COVID-19 had specific SARS-CoV-2 binding activity, while the pre-pandemic samples had low levels of nonspecific or cross-reactive activity, the researchers report. They next tested the antibodies’ response to the receptor binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, and found that 12 out of 15 of the samples from previously-infected donors showed significant IgA binding activity. Some of those samples also included other reactive antibodies such as immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin M. Compared with the controls, it was IgA and IgG levels that were the highest.
The results align with a study published in September in the Journal of Perinatology that also detected high levels of IgA and some IgG and IgM that were reactive to the S1 and S2 subunits of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in a majority of milk samples collected during the pandemic. None of the breastmilk tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 with a PCR test, suggesting none of the mothers were infected at the time of sample collection.
There was also no documentation of whether the 41 women who donated samples had ever been infected with the virus, notes study coauthor Veronique Demers-Mathieu, an immunologist at Medolac Laboratories in Boulder City, Nevada, so it’s unclear if these antibodies were the result of SARS-CoV-2 or another viral infection.
The team did collect general health information on the donors of the milk samples and found that S1 and S2 SARS-CoV-2–reactive IgG levels were higher in milk from women who had had symptoms of a viral respiratory infection during the last year than in milk from women who hadn’t had any symptoms of infection. IgG abundance was also higher in the samples from 2020 than from those taken in 2018, long before the pandemic started. The IgA and IgM antibody reactivity, however, didn’t appear to be specific to SARS-CoV-2 S1 and S2 and did not differ between the 2020 samples and the 2018 samples, meaning these responses could be the result of cross-reactivity from antibodies generated after exposure to other viruses. That suggests the antibodies secreted in breastmilk provide a broad immunity to breastfeeding infants, Demers-Mathieu says.
Benefits of breastmilk versus blood antibodies
One important feature of these antibodies, whether specific to the virus or not, is that they are secretory antibodies, Powell notes. The B cells that secrete antibodies into milk originate from the mucosal immune system in the mother’s small intestine. Those B cells travel through the blood to the mammary glands and secrete IgA that’s then shuttled from the mammary tissue to the milk via a transporter protein. Those proteins, called secretory components, leave pieces of themselves on the antibodies, wrapping around them and protecting them from being degraded in the infant mouth and gut. “Secretory antibody is found not only in milk, but in saliva and all other mucosal secretions,” Powell explains. “It’s not unique to milk, but it is not what you find in the blood.”
That difference could give breastmilk-derived antibodies an advantage over blood-based ones as far as therapeutic options go, she explains. Antibodies such as IgG that are extracted from serum and transfused into the blood of a sick person travel throughout the body and might not go where they are needed. But secretory antibodies, such as IgA from breastmilk, could be extracted and then inhaled into the respiratory tract—just where those antibodies are needed in COVID-19. Because of the protective secretory component they have, these antibodies can endure in the mucosa and target the virus, Powell explains.
“What we are finding in the milk is unique compared to what many people have already studied in the blood in terms of antibody response,” she says. Research suggests that blood-derived antibodies can last months. Secretory antibodies in breastmilk might last longer, Powell’s most recent data indicate, and that means there could be a longer window to collect antibodies from lactating donors after they’ve recovered from COVID-19.
Neither Demers-Mathieu’s nor Powell’s studies tested whether the breastmilk antibodies could neutralize SARS-CoV-2, which is a next step in both teams’ research. Powell has early results suggesting the breastmilk antibodies do neutralize the virus, and a company called Lactiga has partnered with her to continue developing the idea of extracting antibodies from breastmilk to counter COVID-19.
“I think the potential is really great,” says Powell, “if we get past this taboo that it’s breastmilk.”
Climate pregnancy threat: Study shows expectant mothers are negatively affected by climate change
Outcomes of the Neonatal Trial of High-Frequency Oscillation at 16 to 19 Years
August 13, 2020 N Engl J Med 2020; 383:689-691
To The Editor:
We previously reported superior lung function and teacher ratings of school performance in young persons who had received high-frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV) as neonates. In a multicenter, randomized trial, HFOV was compared with conventional ventilation that commenced within an hour of birth in infants born before 29 weeks of gestation. We hypothesized that the positive outcomes of HFOV would persist after the onset of puberty and now report the results of a reassessment of this cohort at the ages of 16 to 19 years.
Comprehensive lung-function assessments were undertaken and questionnaires completed regarding respiratory health, health-related quality of life, and lung function (see the Supplementary Appendix, available with the full text of this letter at NEJM.org). As in our previous assessment of children 11 to 14 years of age, the primary outcome was forced expiratory flow at 75% of the expired vital capacity (FEF75). Because some children were unable to complete all the lung-function tests, we used multiple imputation with chained equations to impute missing data.
Table 1. Lung-Function Test Results According to Ventilation Group.
A total of 161 young people were evaluated, and 159 underwent lung-function assessment (Fig. S1 in the Supplementary Appendix). Baseline characteristics were similar among those who were assessed and those who were not (Table S1). Participant characteristics did not differ significantly between the ventilation groups when assessed as infants or at 16 to 19 years of age (Table S2). The results with respect to the primary outcome did not differ significantly between the ventilation groups at 16 to 19 years of age: mean (±SD) FEF75 z score of −1.07±1.21 with conventional ventilation and −0.94±1.33 with HFOV (adjusted difference in mean z scores, 0.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.18 to 0.56) (Table 1 and Table S3). These differences remained nonsignificant after multiple imputation (P=0.11) (Table S4). The majority of the mean FEF75 results reported when participants were 16 to 19 years of age were below the lower limit of normal (59% with HFOV and 65% with conventional ventilation). Other measures of lung function also did not differ significantly between the ventilation groups (Table 1 and Table S3). However, 15% of participants in the HFOV group received a diagnosis of asthma, whereas only 3% of participants in the conventional ventilation group had such a diagnosis (adjusted difference, 11 percentage points; 95% CI, 3 to 23). Similarly, inhalers were prescribed for asthma treatment in 13% of those in the HFOV group as compared with 3% of those in the conventional ventilation group (adjusted difference, 11 percentage points; 95% CI, 2 to 21) (Table S5).
Our follow-up study of infants who had been enrolled in a randomized trial in which two types of ventilation were prescribed showed that the use of HFOV in the neonatal period was not associated with superior respiratory or functional outcomes at 16 to 19 years of age. Longer-term follow-up is required to determine whether there will be premature onset of chronic pulmonary disease in this vulnerable population.
Christopher Harris, M.R.C.P.C.H.; Alessandra Bisquera, M.Sc.: King’s College London, London, United Kingdom
Alan Lunt, Ph.D.; Imperial College, London, United Kingdom; Janet L. Peacock, Ph.D.:Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH;
Anne Greenough, M.D.: King’s College London, London, United Kingdom- email@example.com
Supported by the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ National Health Service Foundation Trust and King’s College London.
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Optimal practice in neonatal parenteral nutrition: The role of quality improvement and risk management in providing high-quality parenteral nutrition
POSTED ON 06 OCTOBER 2020
An interview with Professor Nicholas Embleton
In some infants, parenteral nutrition is the only way to provide the necessary nutrients for days or weeks. Being an invasive procedure, it also carries potential risks and therefore, requires certain infrastructure and thorough risk management paired with continuous quality assessment in order to ensure high quality of parenteral nutrition in daily practice. In this interview, Professor Nicholas Embleton from The Newcastle-upon-Tyne hospital & Newcastle University shares his view and experiences on means of quality improvement and how a blame-free culture can contribute to efficient risk management.
Question 1: Quality assessment and risk management rely on thorough and transparent reporting practices. Could you elaborate what in general makes the Briefing in a minute (BIM) an efficient method in Quality Improvement (QI) and Risk Management (RM)?
The great thing about BIM is that it is very quick to do, and you can do it repeatedly. We do every day after our morning teaching session, but you could do at every shift change i.e. twice per day. By the end of the week, you might have heard the same message 5 times, but then we have some fun, and we make a quiz “who can remember what the 4 items on BIM were this week?”. It allows us to communicate messages about QI or RM quickly.
Question 2: Concerning parenteral nutrition, which properties of the BIM are particularly advantageous in terms of quality improvement and risk management?
The ability to get a simple message communicated quickly – for example, we had an issue with placement of the filter in relation to the lipid infusion line. We realised some staff were placing the filter at the wrong location, which was leading to alarms. We were able to share that update really quickly. Although we meet as a whole team, shift handover happens separately for medical and nursing teams: the roles and responsibilities also differ. This means we have separate BIM for nursing and medical teams. The items discussed on BIM can be the same or different which allows us to ‘target’ different parts of a complex communication system.
Question 3: Can you say something about the implementation process of the BIM into daily work routines? Did it require training, for instance, to develop a routine in using simple, concise messages for the reporting?
We just started using it a few years ago, to be honest, I am not sure who had the original idea, but quite probably another hospital or department. It doesn’t require any training to use. You just need to give one person the responsibility of coordinating what will be the 3-4 items for that week. You can agree on those items at a departmental meeting, or you send an email to the senior team asking for specific items for BIM in that week. We write the items out and keep them in a folder – if you want you can look back at the last several weeks of BIM items. It is important that you don’t try and cover too much, so 3-4 items are about right. For more complex issues you need a different mechanism. So BIM cannot be used for teaching – it is not really an interactive event. But you could use BIM to say ‘we are using new filters for lipid; make sure you attend the training session before you start to use them’.
Question 4: To establish and to maintain a well-functioning risk management and reporting system, a blame-free culture is crucial. Yet, in healthcare, errors can range from minor mistakes to errors with tremendous consequences. How do you maintain and encourage open communication within your teams?
Establishing trust in the whole team is essential. Even when you know you didn’t mean to make the mistake, and even when it is not serious you can still feel bad. So developing a supportive team is crucial. We need to learn to look after our colleagues and stick together. That is all about being practical and recognising the real world: we are all human. It is not about ‘sticking together’ to hide mistakes away. At the end of the day, the motivation for working on a NICU is to make things better for the babies, so everyone wants to be involved in QI and RM. It is appropriate sometimes to maintain anonymity – if you made a ‘silly’ mistake, you don’t want to be ‘named and shamed’ at a large meeting, so we try hard to always maintain anonymity. It’s also important to recognise that as senior members of the team, we are much more confident in many respects – both in terms of knowledge and experience, but also more confident knowing that our colleagues will support us. More junior members may feel more worried and less confident. I might not perceive a small intravenous extravasation as being important, but the junior nurse responsible may feel really upset. Developing a friendly, supportive team and looking after each other is essential to good QI and RM. We are proud to have a ‘learning culture’ in our NICU. We accept that sometimes things will not go to plan. We deal with that by being honest and supportive. Parents appreciate honesty and deserve to be listened to. Parents appreciate it when a senior healthcare professional says “I am sorry this happened to your baby”. Saying sorry does not mean we made a mistake, it means we empathise and acknowledge that what happened to the baby has caused upset or harm. TEAM is the most important aspects of QI and RM.
We thank Professor Embleton for this insightful interview.
Professor Nicholas Embleton is Consultant Neonatal Paediatrician at the Newcastle-upon-Tyne hospital and a member of the expert panel for the topic of neonatal parenteral nutrition.
Midwife on a motorbike in Indonesia | UNICEF
Cannula With Long and Narrow Tubing vs Short Binasal Prongs for Noninvasive Ventilation in Preterm Infants
Noninferiority Randomized Clinical Trial
Ori Hochwald, MD1; Arieh Riskin, MD2; Liron Borenstein-Levin, MD1; et alIrit Shoris, RN2; Gil P. Dinur, MD1; Waseem Said, MD2; Huda Jubran, MD1; Yoav Littner, MD1; Julie Haddad, MD1; Malka Mor, RN1; Fanny Timstut, RN1; David Bader, MD2; Amir Kugelman, MD1 Author Affiliations: JAMA Pediatr. Published online November 9, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.3579
Original Investigation November 9, 2020
Question Is a cannula with long and narrow tubing inferior to short binasal prongs and masks in preterm infants who require nasal intermittent positive pressure ventilation?
Findings In this noninferiority randomized clinical trial that included 166 preterm infants at 24 weeks’ to 33 weeks and 6 days’ gestation requiring nasal intermittent positive pressure ventilation, intubation within 72 hours occurred in 14% in the group using a cannula with long and narrow tubing and in 18% in the short binasal prongs and masks group (95% CI within the noninferiority margin). Moderate to severe nasal trauma was significantly less common in the group using cannulas with long and narrow tubing.
Meaning Cannulas with long and narrow tubing were noninferior to short binasal prongs and masks in providing nasal intermittent positive pressure ventilation for preterm infants, while causing significantly less nasal trauma.
Importance Use of cannulas with long and narrow tubing (CLNT) has gained increasing popularity for applying noninvasive respiratory support for newborn infants thanks to ease of use, perceived patient comfort, and reduced nasal trauma. However, there is concern that this interface delivers reduced and suboptimal support.
Objective To determine whether CLNT is noninferior to short binasal prongs and masks (SPM) when providing nasal intermittent positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV) in preterm infants.
Design, Setting, and Participants This randomized controlled, unblinded, prospective noninferiority trial was conducted between December 2017 and December 2019 at 2 tertiary neonatal intensive care units. Preterm infants born between 24 weeks’ and 33 weeks and 6 days’ gestation were eligible if presented with respiratory distress syndrome with the need for noninvasive ventilatory support either as initial treatment after birth or after first extubation. Analysis was performed by intention to treat.
Interventions Randomization to NIPPV with either CLNT or SPM interface.
Main Outcomes and Measures The primary outcome was the need for intubation within 72 hours after NIPPV treatment began. Noninferiority margin was defined as 15% or less absolute difference.
Results Overall, 166 infants were included in this analysis, and infant characteristics and clinical condition (including fraction of inspired oxygen, Pco2, and pH level) were comparable at recruitment in the CLNT group (n = 83) and SPM group (n = 83). The mean (SD) gestational age was 29.3 (2.2) weeks vs 29.2 (2.5) weeks, and the mean (SD) birth weight was 1237 (414) g vs 1254 (448) g in the CLNT and SPM groups, respectively. Intubation within 72 hours occurred in 12 of 83 infants (14%) in the CLNT group and in 15 of 83 infants (18%) in the SPM group (risk difference, −3.6%; 95% CI, −14.8 to 7.6 [within the noninferiority margin], χ2 P = .53). Moderate to severe nasal trauma was significantly less common in the CLNT group compared with the SPM group (4 [5%] vs 14 [17%]; P = .01). There were no differences in other adverse events or in the course during hospitalization.
Conclusions and Relevance In this study, CLNT was noninferior to SPM in providing NIPPV for preterm infants, while causing significantly less nasal trauma.
A Randomized Trial of Laryngeal Mask Airway in Neonatal Resuscitation
List of authors: Nicolas J. Pejovic, M.D., Ph.D., Susanna Myrnerts Höök, M.D., M.Med., Josaphat Byamugisha, M.D., Ph.D., Tobias Alfvén, M.D., Ph.D., Clare Lubulwa, M.D., M.Med., Francesco Cavallin, M.Sc., Jolly Nankunda, M.D., Ph.D., Hege Ersdal, M.D., Ph.D., Mats Blennow, M.D., Ph.D., Daniele Trevisanuto, M.D., and Thorkild Tylleskär, M.D., Ph.D.
Face-mask ventilation is the most common resuscitation method for birth asphyxia. Ventilation with a cuffless laryngeal mask airway (LMA) has potential advantages over face-mask ventilation during neonatal resuscitation in low-income countries, but whether the use of an LMA reduces mortality and morbidity among neonates with asphyxia is unknown.
In this phase 3, open-label, superiority trial in Uganda, we randomly assigned neonates who required positive-pressure ventilation to be treated by a midwife with an LMA or with face-mask ventilation. All the neonates had an estimated gestational age of at least 34 weeks, an estimated birth weight of at least 2000 g, or both. The primary outcome was a composite of death within 7 days or admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with moderate-to-severe hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy at day 1 to 5 during hospitalization.
Complete follow-up data were available for 99.2% of the neonates. A primary outcome event occurred in 154 of 563 neonates (27.4%) in the LMA group and 144 of 591 (24.4%) in the face-mask group (adjusted relative risk, 1.16; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.90 to 1.51; P=0.26). Death within 7 days occurred in 21.7% of the neonates in the LMA group and 18.4% of those in the face-mask group (adjusted relative risk, 1.21; 95% CI, 0.90 to 1.63), and admission to the NICU with moderate-to-severe hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy at day 1 to 5 during hospitalization occurred in 11.2% and 10.1%, respectively (adjusted relative risk, 1.27; 95% CI, 0.84 to 1.93). Findings were materially unchanged in a sensitivity analysis in which neonates with missing data were counted as having had a primary outcome event in the LMA group and as not having had such an event in the face-mask group. The frequency of predefined intervention-related adverse events was similar in the two groups.
In neonates with asphyxia, the LMA was safe in the hands of midwives but was not superior to face-mask ventilation with respect to early neonatal death and moderate-to-severe hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy. (Funded by the Research Council of Norway and the Center for Intervention Science in Maternal and Child Health; NeoSupra ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03133572. opens in new tab.)
This randomized trial of the effectiveness and safety of the LMA in neonatal resuscitation conducted by midwives in a low-income country showed the LMA to be safe in the hands of midwives but to confer no benefit over the face mask with respect to the composite of early neonatal death or moderate-to-severe hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy. The cuffless LMA that was used in this trial is designed to provide an efficient seal to the larynx without the inflatable cuff used in conventional LMAs. Positioning is easy, and the risk of tissue compression or dislodgement is low. Thus, the device provides a useful alternative to the face mask and endotracheal intubation, especially in settings where skills in performing positive-pressure ventilation or intubation are insufficient. A study in Uganda that used mannequins showed that after a brief training, midwives could easily insert this LMA, and it was more effective than the face mask in establishing positive-pressure ventilation in a mannequin. A phase 2, randomized, controlled trial at the same site showed that midwives could perform resuscitation in neonates effectively and safely with the cuffless LMA.
Data from previous trials have suggested that LMA use results in shorter ventilation times than use of a face mask and may reduce the hypoxic–ischemic insult. Resuscitations in these studies were conducted by physicians or supervised midwives. In the present trial, midwives used the LMA unsupervised, and the insertion technique could have been suboptimal, which may have affected the effectiveness of the LMA. The observation of a higher likelihood of treatment failure in the face-mask group than in the LMA group and the suggestion that rescue with the LMA might result in better outcomes than rescue with the face mask in the current trial are consistent with the results from previous trials. The frequency of failure with the face mask appeared to be lower than in our pilot trial; this may reflect improved skills regarding face-mask ventilation among midwives because of additional and repeated training during the trial.
Although our trial did not show superiority of the LMA over the face mask and the trial was not designed to assess noninferiority, the findings appear consistent with current ILCOR recommendations.24 Thus, our findings suggest that the LMA can be safely used as an alternative device during newborn resuscitation, including when performed by trained midwives.
Most studies show that 3 to 6% of neonates require positive-pressure ventilation at birth. In our trial, 8.6% needed positive-pressure ventilation, and a large proportion of neonates were severely compromised; 61.2% had meconium-stained or foul-smelling amniotic fluid, and very early neonatal death occurred in 15.1%. This percentage is considerably higher than those in previous reports and could reflect the hospital demographics, with large numbers of late referrals and mainly neonates with severe asphyxia; previous reports that showed benefits of the LMA largely involved neonates who had mild asphyxia. Differences between our trial population and those in previous trials are a potential explanation for the discrepancy between our results and the results of previous trials.
This trial extends our knowledge about LMA use among severely compromised neonates in a low-income setting — where more neonatal deaths occur than in higher-income settings and advanced resuscitation is often not available — by having a larger number of participants, relevant outcomes, rigorous methods (including video documentation), and a strong adherence to trial-group assignments with minimal loss to follow-up or exclusions. The trial also has some limitations. It was a single-site trial in a high-volume hospital, where fetal heart-rate monitoring was not routinely available, and there was inconsistent capacity of staff to provide advanced resuscitation; thus, the findings may not be generalizable to better-resourced settings. For trial conduct, we had additional staff on site. Crossovers, which occurred for safety reasons, were more frequent in the face-mask group than in the LMA group (10.9% vs. 3.5%), and this might have improved the outcomes of the neonates initially treated with the face mask. The neurologic outcome (hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy) was based on the Thompson score without advanced examinations (e.g., electroencephalography or neuroimaging). In addition, it was an open-label trial, but hard outcomes were used and outcome assessors were not aware of the trial-group assignments.
In our trial, the LMA was safe in the hands of midwives but did not result in a lower incidence of early neonatal death or moderate-to-severe hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy than face-mask ventilation among neonates with asphyxia.
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Breastfeed Your Baby to Reduce the Risk of SIDS
How Families Can Help Support Breastfeeding Moms
Breastfeeding moms can always use encouragement – here’s how you can help!
A breastfeeding mom needs lots of things – to stay hydrated, to eat extra calories, to get more sleep (hopefully!), and to build a successful nursing relationship with her little one. And she needs support from her loved ones and family! A supportive and encouraging partner, spouse, or family member can make all the difference in encouraging and helping a breastfeeding mom meet her goals. Here are some ways to help the breastfeeding mom in your life.
Supporting Mom’s Needs
When mom comes home with a new baby and is beginning her breastfeeding journey, there are several things that can be done to make things easier for her.
- Create a comfortable home environment where she can practice and get used to breastfeeding and all that it physically and emotionally requires.
- Run interference with phone calls and visits – and limit them if necessary.
- Take on additional household chores like cooking, cleaning, and laundry.
- Bring any needed items during a nursing session, like water, a snack, her phone, or a book.
- Give supportive words or encouragement when she’s facing breastfeeding difficulties – and start the process to get additional help or support from your healthcare provider or a Lactation Consultant, if needed.
Bonding with Baby
Sometimes helping mom means taking over care for the little one and giving her some time to herself. And, since breastfeeding provides a unique opportunity for closeness between mom and baby, you’ll want to form your own special bond with the little one. Here are ways to interact one-on-one with baby and encourage your own special connection.
- Make time for skin-to-skin contact when cuddling
- Take over bath duties
- Change diapers after each feeding
- Burp the baby after a nursing session
- Rock the baby to sleep
- Walk with baby in the stroller or in a carrier
- If your loved one is pumping, take over the night feeding by warming and feeding a previously expressed bottle of breast milk
If you’re unsure, just ask the breastfeeding mom in your life what would most help, and then do it! Even small tasks done every day can help over time to show that you support breastfeeding and make her feel more confident in her decision to nurse. It may not always be easy, but it’s always worth it!
Mothers of premature babies struggle to get donor breast milk
Jack Shonkoff Discusses Early Childhood Development
In regard to the video above I believe ACES is something some of us who are preemie infant survivors may connect with personally.
While our experience receiving life-saving care was essential for our long-term outcomes and wellness the process came undoubtedly for many of us with some difficult measures. As neonates many of us underwent traumatic experiences undergoing critical interventional care, significant time away from our caregivers/parents or human contact, and submersion in a prolonged high-stress environment.
I encourage us as preemie infant survivors to explore the ACES model above and consider the ways our earliest human experiences may have impacted our development and has influenced our personal interaction with the world around us. Reflecting on the ways we may connect ACES to our human experience as preemie survivors may inspire us to discover new and exciting ways to approach enhancing our health and well-being.
I am calling for continuous research in this area of trauma informed care which may significantly influence the fields of neonatology and the health and well-being of our Neonatal Womb Warrior/Preterm Birth Survivor Community.
Surfing in Nias Utara (North of Nias)